The Omer As “Gathering”
The omer (which literally refers to a sheaf of reaped grain) occurs in five chapters of the Tanakh: Exodus 16; Leviticus 23; Deuteronomy 24; Job 24; and Ruth 2. Its first usage in Exodus deals with the gathering of manna.
Manna was described as being similar to coriander seed. As a result, this supernaturally-provided food took on a meaning not only associated with the natural process of harvesting grain for physical sustenance but also of a supernatural bread that points much later to “that bread from heaven” that God provided through the offering of His Son. That bread is not only physical and temporal in nature but also spiritual and eternal.
When we come to Ruth 2 we get a glimpse into the Messianic aspect of the omer.
Ruth describes the ancestry of David–the King through whom the Messiah was to come. It emphasizes that two of David’s ancestral matriarchs were gentiles who became engrafted (gathered) into the commonwealth of Israel. This same point is emphasized in the genealogy of our Lord in Matthew 1:5. As a result, the grain and harvest themes in Ruth point to a Messianic function of the ministry of King-Messiah: the gathering of souls from all of humanity into the Kingdom of God. This is a primary theme in the parables of Jesus in which he likens grain to souls of mankind and their harvest to the regathering of lost humanity back to God.